“A rift has opened up…between family and the school; the educational pact today has been broken and thus the educational alliance between society and the family is in crisis,” writes Pope Francis in paragraph 84 of Amoris Laetitia. His words sum up recent disturbing headlines concerning education across the UK.
Education and the welfare of children, particularly in regard to the increasingly controversial RSE (Relationships & Sex Education) – has once again become the focus of attention. The current statutory guidance on this new subject was due a three-yearly review since its implementation in September 2020, but in response to a report submitted to the Prime Minister by Miriam Cates MP, that review has been brought forward and will have an independent panel further investigate the serious questions of safeguarding failures exposed by the excellent research by the think tank Policy Exchange. This report is a must-read for all parents, carers, educationalists and clergy. Apart from the shocking evidence that many schools routinely misapply equality law in favour of gender ideology, what is deeply disturbing, but unsurprising, is the ubiquitous anti-parent attitude that prevails in many schools.
Those of us who have been warning and working for years against this abuse feel somewhat vindicated that the matter is being addressed. The report “Asleep at the Wheel” highlights the explicit nature of many RSE materials as well as shedding a forensic light on the chronological institutional capture of multiple departments of the civil service by LGBT lobbying group Stonewall. Chapter 10 of the report outlines the history of this capture and just how much money Stonewall has cashed in on the public purse for what Pope Francis has condemned as “ideological colonisation” of the young. “Asleep at the wheel” is also a fitting epitaph for the manner in which the government itself has caused this scandalous situation to transpire and take root by actively encouraging and promoting external agencies which provide inappropriate RSE.
The Department for Education [DfE] tries to argue that in order to stamp out all forms of bullying, children must learn at an earlier and earlier age about all sexual orientation lifestyles. But what has actually resulted from this subjection of children to adult preoccupation with sexuality, intimacy and gender other than the lowering of the natural sense of modesty and the erosion of the latency period of innocence?
Each year we see an increase in child-on-child sexual abuse and harassment as evidenced by the 50,000+ submissions of testimony to the “Everyone’s Invited” website [including many Catholic schools across the UK) and perhaps even a mimetic acting-out of what children see graphically displayed in RSE lessons, the precise content of which parents have had no prior knowledge, and even if they did the DfE forbids them to have a veto over content. This was reiterated again by Gillian Keegan MP in her personal letter to schools on 31 March 2023 despite her overtures in favour of parents’ rights.
Not long ago, if you entered the Sanctuary Street building of the DfE, you would see the rainbow flags of Pride hanging from its walls and ceilings from the first floor to the ground floor. Senior staff from Stonewall crossed over into Ofsted and the DfE and we know that former Stonewall CEO, Ruth Hunt was on the interview panel that recruited outgoing Chief HMI Amanda Spielman – ironic given that the Commons Education Select Committee at the time strongly advised Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, not to appoint Spielman as according to the then chair Neil Carmichael MP, her “responses on child protection were particularly troubling”. Spielman’s successor will soon be recruited but whether we will see someone at the helm of Ofsted with a more consistent grasp of equality law remains to be seen.
The minister for schools Nick Gibb [who bounced back into the DfE under Keegan] was challenged on RSE in a meeting of the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group several years ago about the rights in conscience of faith schools on same-sex practice. Visibly irritated, he shouted: “You will teach LGBT! You will teach LGBT!” The statutory guidance states that “pupils should receive teaching on LGBT content during their school years. Secondary schools should include LGBT content in their teaching. Primary schools are strongly encouraged and enabled, when teaching about different types of family, to include families with same sex parents.”
What it used to say, yet no longer does (but which is still the law) is that primary schools are not legally obliged [at all] to include LGBT content in any area of their curriculum, including relationships education. Very few, if any, Ofsted inspectors know this as they are told to go digging for evidence on LGBT provision from early years to key stage 2. If it’s not there, the school gets penalised irrespective of its religious character. Secondary schools get no choice.
The repeated insistence on 3.1 per cent of the population identifying as LGBT is continually peddled as if it were the major issue. Even the figures for the 2021 census concerning those who identified as “transgender” have now been challenged given the rather unfeasible claim that 1 in 67 Muslims is supposedly transgender.
If a stranger came into a school with the materials issued in many classes from government listed organisations (e.g. Stonewall, Educate & Celebrate, Sexwise to name a few) and asked to “talk to your 7 and 8 year old children about sex and sexual variety, and the different ways people have sex”, the immediate reaction of any normal school should be to call the police. Yet clothe that person in the robes of Stonewall and the like, and they are welcomed in as liberators and guides.
Sadly the Stonewall-esque lexicon of diversity and inclusivity has also crept into many Catholic and other Christian schools despite the inclusion in the curriculum of Christian morality regarding sex and marriage.
The simple fact is that Stonewall-approved resources [the unscientific basis of which DfE officials knowingly turned a blind eye to] were never designed for true pastoral or educational purposes. That has never been their intent. We are dealing with a political aim to change the law and culture, with unrestricted access to children to achieve that end.
Miriam Cates MP is correct in describing this as the activity of “adult sexual liberation campaigns” that in effect have imported “grooming practices” into schools. We need to rediscover and reassert the primary defence against any kind of bullying – the unique and inviolable value of each human being as a child of God. To show unconditional respect for their unique personhood, not idolise labels. We need to recognise that under the banner of “LGBT inclusive RSE”, more and more extreme RSE resources have been built posing moral danger and emotional/psychosexual risk to children. Don’t just take our word for it, you can read it for yourself here
The government review into the nationwide RSE scandal is a window of opportunity for parents to push back and reclaim so much surrendered territory when it comes to the cherished family values they aspire to instil in their children in partnership with schools. Teachers must re-learn or learn from scratch the principle of “in loco parentis” and parents must be more vigilant than they have heretofore bothered to be. As Pope St John Paul II so presciently put it in 1981, if parents fail to be protagonists in “family politics” and assume responsibility for transforming society then “families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference” (Familiaris Consortio n44)”.
Edmund P Adamus and Edmund Matyjaszek